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FS or Hard tail for age challenged rider


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I’m 53 and have been riding for close on a year (and loving it) and would love to go for as long as the body lets me. I am 1.8m and 92kgs and am currently riding a silverback Alpine 2 26” hard tail. I ride most weekends (+- 3hr rides (25-35kms)) on jeep track, and non-technical single track. I find that after 2hrs my lower back starts to take strain and can get quite painful. I have already made the decision to upgrade to a 29er, but I’m not sure if I should go for a hard tail or Full suspension bike. I have +- R15k to spend. I am also thinking of doing Berg and bush next year.


I have found a Silverback Mercury Comp (FS) for R14K http://www.vbike.co.za/silverback-mercury-comp-29/ or alternatively the silverback Vida 2 (HT) for R10K http://www.vbike.co.za/silverback-vida-2-2013/.These both seem good buys.


The question is which would suit me best FS or HT?


Are there any better alternatives to the silverbacks in this price range?


Will the weight difference of the FS make much difference to my riding?


Does anyone have any bad experience with buying from Valencia Bike (VBike)?


Any advice would be really appreciated

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At 53 you are still a youngster. Go for the full suspension. Much more comfortable and will give you more confidence on the rocky bits and downhills. I am 14 years older than you and have been riding full suspension for the last 15 years.

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Go FS for sure. Im in my early 40's and the hard tail is starting to hurt me on the long stuff. I feel strong but my body cant take the hammering anymore. FS for me sooner than later.

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Reeb, just made the switch from HT to FS. This also includes a slightly longer wheelbase, esp at the rear - but also slightly slacker head angle as well.


First off, I'm not old (seems I'm about same age as mr Carpet above) - and neither are you! Did not have an issue with the HT ito hammering on the body - but I am on bigger wheels than you, which does make a difference. What I found was I lost so much time on the flats (where I as a dirt-roadie is supposed to shine :whistling: ) as soon as it gets corrugated. Crazy...


So what I did was to build what I could from my Stumpy (Spez is quite good at incorporating propriety stuff... :cursing: ) to a Anthem frame.


A-maaaazing difference! I will not go back. I can give it gas on the corrugated sections now, instead of freewheeling and clinging on to the handlebars. (I think my weight may also count against me, since I can't "sit down" the rear wheel...) Love the traction, you get a lot of confidence on loose stuff as well. Climbing is distinctly different, though. I am used to being able to pedal myself out of trouble, where here it's more a... gradual climbing. And the longer chainstays makes for a small change as well, where I was used to being over a short steep section when my front wheel is hooked over... now I must concentrate on giving another half a pedal to get the rear wheel over as well!


All in all, though, I won't even contemplate going back - not even if the Stumpy was a full bike standing and waiting for a ride.


O ja, other thing mentioned was weight - I think my bike now weighs a (filled) water bottle more than the Stumpy. Oh ja, speaking of water bottles, that is obviously another small consideration. You don't really have place for two bottles on a FS frame. The behind-the-seatpost option does not sit well with me. (But again, I use a medium frame.)


That's my 2c - use it, don't use it.

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I went from HT to DS last year and wound up with some backache in the begining. Had no problems when I rode the HT.

(I had a Ghost and I think it was a more 'forward' position than my GT)


Started doing some pilates moves and stretches twice a week and since then no problems!


Try and keep the HT as well, its great knowing you have a spare bike when something needs servicing etc on the DS and you dont have to rush a job or lose out on a weekend of riding.

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I find that after 2hrs my lower back starts to take strain and can get quite painful


Any advice would be really appreciated


HT or DS is your call, and there certainly are advantages to riding a DS bike.


However, the biggest - perhaps only sustainable way of fixing a back that starts taking strain after a few hours on the bike, is to strengthen your core muscles.


Enroll for a Pilates class and get your stomach and lower back muscles into shape. Buying a DS bike to compensate for physical weakness is just postponing the problem. Rather fix it.

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Full sus!! All the comments here are valid, good ones...


I had also suffered from a constant nagging lower back ache on rides longer than 3 hours...


with some core execrcizes (Pilates / body weight training/ yoga stuff) that is also now a thing of the past.


My upgrade to 29 FS has effectively left my "other" machine gathering dust!!


For your style & type of riding...get one today!! You can thank us this afternoon already... :clap: :clap:

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Maybe also try a proper bike set up. You will get back pain from a bad set up on a FS just as much as a HT. Also remember that FS is heavier than HT.

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If your bike is hurting you, a good fitting / setup will do much more good than buying a new bike.


However if you are set on a new one - FS all the way.

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So it looks like the FS, thanks for all the advice. It has made the decision much easier.


This looks like a good buy to me, New Silverback mercury Comp 2012. R14K from Vbike http://www.vbike.co....ercury-comp-29/


Product Description

Frame G2 Force Alloy with IDS EVO 4

Fork Rock Shox Recon Gold TK 29" 100mm

Rear Shock Fox Float RL

Rims STANS Crest 29 Double Wall Aluminium

Hubs Shimano SLX Center lock

Tyres Maxxis Crossmark 29" x 2.1

Shifters Shimano SLX 10 Speed Rapidfire Plus

Front derailleur Shimano Deore 10 Speed

Rear derailleur Shimano XT Shadow 10 Speed

Crankset Shimano SLX 24/32/42T 10 Speed, 2 Piece

Bottom bracket Shimano 2 Piece Incl

Cassette Shimano HG62, 10 Speed 11-34T

Pedals Shimano PD-M505

Brake set Shimano Deore Hydraulic Disc

Any other suggestions


Does anyone have any experience buying from VBike (good or bad)


Thanks once again for the help.

Edited by Reeb
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